Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Celebration

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Some pix of the celebration the parish had to conclude our Arise Together in Christ program.

We are the Good News!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Final Post

Read Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8.

Arise Together in Christ is a three-year, parish centered program of spiritual renewal, evangelization and adult faith formation.  Those that have participated have developed a closer relationship with Christ, grown in community, and reached out in service to others.

These past three years, have done just that for me, personally.  I have been humbled by the faith I have encountered in others.  I'm sure others have felt the same, especially the Arise team.  Together as a team we have accomplished God's work by allowing the Spirit to move.  It certainly wasn't us.  We had no idea what we were doing; we didn't understand; we didn't know anything; we didn't "get it."

Yet, we did it.  We stepped out in faith.

I still don't know how we did what we did.
    
In looking back over the past three years, I'm awed.  It has to be the work of the Holy Spirit.  In meditation, I definitely see that the Arise program has brought me into a Trinitarian relationship with God.  Read John 14:11, John 14:20, and John 14:23.  IOW, our faith tells us that God is three distinct persons, each relating to the other two in a unique way, much like St. Mary's Arise team, and very much like my Sunday night Arise group, and I'm sure all the Arise groups.  Each person in God is equally and completely one and the same God.  We, who have been made in God's own image and likeness, grow in perfection by becoming ever more united to each other and thus to God, in our groups.  We grew together and still respected the diversity of each of us as being a unique individual.  Wowza. Think of it.

I thank God for this experience.

In the most wonderful way, the Arise team, and the Arise groups, have taught me to respect each person as someone unique,  and someone very special to God.  We have enriched each other.  Our variety has helped me to understand something of the mystery of the Blessed Trinity, imperfectly reflected in the unity in diversity in the Arise team, in my group, in my parish, my community, and the Archdiocese.  So it must be in the world.  And when you think of it, all of history.

I'm sorry.  Words aren't sufficient.  My vocabulary fails me.   Wowza.

St. Thomas Aquinas teaches us that everything aims toward God.  Everyone wants the best.  Of course the best is God.  All human beings want union with God, and working together toward the good is the best humans can be.*

Arise with St. Mary's Parish has done this.  The three years are finished.  We are in the last session.  Finis.
I hope you will continue to read your Bible, reflecting upon what you have read.  My heartfelt thanks to all who have participated in the groups, and those that have found their way to this blog.

OK then, before I go, besides thanking everyone overall, I need to thank some in particular:


  • as always, to my husband, my Martha, for loving me
  • to my children, for tolerating me
  • to Father Dave, for giving me the ball and letting me run with it
  • to Father Brian and Father Frank for their prayers and support
  • To Deacon Dick for his leadership and prayers
  • to Joe, for his marketing skills, his spreadsheet expertise, and running interference for me
  • to Nancy, for her teacher skills and procurement abilities
  • to Ray for reaching out to our elderly and infirm and Christine for her support and prayers (and I promise to never tell Ray to "shut up" again).
  • to Robbie and Paul for stepping in and doing whatever was asked.
  • to Brenda and David for the best banner in the diocese and other promotional works
  • to Katie for her educational expertise, involvement with  the youth, and dedication to the parish
  • to John for back-up and ideas
  • to Betsy for back-up and help
  • to Mike for his support and sales pitches
  • to Neil for lending his presence and support and giving us the perception of "legitimacy"
  • for everyone's dedication and faith
To everyone who participated, thank you for your prayers.

For a review of the past three years, check out the Arise pix.

*Thomas Aquinas, I-II, q. 36, a. 3, Summa Theologica, vol.2.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Wordsmithing the Mass

The Eucharist in the Mass is the center of a Catholic's life.  It is the best prayer, our best community, and the epitome of our expression of love to God.  IOW, it's how we who are gathered to pray together commune with each other to unite ourselves in worship.  It stands to reason that we should want to do this in the best way possible, right?  So how we say, what we say, is important, right?  Right.

This is the reasoning behind the changes in the Mass.  There are going to be changes in the wording of the Mass.  Amen will stay the same.  The Our Father will too.  That's about it.  Oh, the sign of the cross will remain.  The change will be done by Nov. 27, 2011--the First Sunday of Advent, which is apropos since Advent is the new liturgical year.

What do you think?  "Deja vu all over again."   This is reminiscent of the changes after Vatican II, and will certainly boost the sales of Magnificat and missals.

Actually, the priest is affected the most.  It's the Sacramentary that has the most change.  If the people can hear the priest praying they will appreciate the beauty of the mystery through this more precise translation.  "Lex orandi, lex credendi."  The new words will show us the relationship between what we pray and what we believe.

The Mass will be more poetic, more inspiring and more theological.  What more could you want?  Start looking for the changes. This will be a good time to start thinking about what you're saying.  Meditate on the prayers at Mass.  We will learn to love the Mass even more.    Deo Gratias.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Come and See

Seeing is believing, right?  Well....this time it is.  St. Mary's very last session of the Arise Together in Christ program is beginning next week.  Are you going?  What are you waiting for?

Read how Jesus handles this situation, John 1:35-46.  Would you behave like the disciples?  Prove it.  Come and See an Arise group.  Drop on by.  Go to one, or two.

What are you afraid of?  What have you got to lose?

I promise I won't bug you any more.  This is the last time.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Question?

This not a legitimate posting; it is a sincere question.  If you have a Liturgy of the Hours, 4 Vol. set, I'm going to give you a reference to read.  It is Wednesday, the Twenty-Fifth Week in Ordinary Time, the Second Reading from a sermon On Pastors by Saint Augustine, bishop, pp. 298-99.

What is Augustine telling us?

This is what I'm interested in:

Behold, I myself am over the shepherds, and I will claim my sheep from their hands; and I will turn away from them so that they may not pasture my sheep, and the shepherds shall no longer give pasture.  For when I say: "Let them pasture my sheep," they give pasture to themselves and not to my sheep.  Therefore, I will turn away from them so that they may not pasture my sheep.
  
How does the Lord turn away from them
to keep them from pasturing his sheep?  
Do whatever they tell you, but do not follow what they do.  







Are you thinking what I'm thinking?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Here's the Entire Bible





Bible In A Minute
Earth made, Adam, Eve
Cain kills Abel, has to leave
Boring genealogy 
Great flood, olive leaf

Tower Babel, Abraham
Sodom and Gomorrah, and
Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses

Ten commands, promised land

Judges, David, Solomon
Sent away to Babylon
Job, then a bunch of psalms
Proverbs and the Song of Songs

Major prophets, lion’s den
Minor prophets, Bethlehem
Gold and myrrh and frankincense
Satan and Samaritan

Choose disciples, other cheek
Walk on water, thousands eat
Lazarus, fig tree
Last supper, Gethsemane

Blood money, third denial
Pontius Pilate, public trial
Forty lashes, to the tree
Why have you forsaken me?

Third day, empty tomb
Reappears, five wounds
Acts of the Apostles next
Epistles and Apocalypse!

h/t to Fr. Fleming of the Concord Pastor and Barats and Bereta

Monday, September 20, 2010

Ghosts


Abraham said, "If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead."

Read Luke 16:19-31.

I don't know about this.  I remember someone asked Sister once, how come we don't have miracles like Lazarus rising from the dead, or other dramatic happenings.  Sister's response was that we had her.  We didn't need to see anyone rising from the dead.

Mmmm.  I wasn't convinced then, either.

I think God needs a new PR firm.  I don't think reading and listening to scriptures are going to hook anybody. God needs drama.  You have to get people's attention first, then they'll turn to scripture.  So have a relative or someone one knows, rise from the dead.

It worked for Scrooge.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Last Call


“I didn’t even know they were Catholic!”  This was an exclamation from one small group leader who held an Arise Together with Christ Season, in her home.  She was talking about some neighbors of hers.  She was gushing about the community that had developed in her group.   Their faith sharing had created a strong bond that had spilled over into friendships that morphed into “family.”
Wow.

But was this everybody’s experience? 

“How was your Arise session this season?” I asked another small group leader.  “You wouldn’t believe what happened!”  He responded.   “One person, who had never been before, joined our group and seemingly seemed a silent participant, confessed in the last session, that our faith sharing had touched her.”   The theme for Season IV was Reconciliation.  The lady in question said that she understood from scripture that if she wanted to get to heaven she had to forgive.  She was not a forgiving person, by nature.  But from the New Heart, New Spirit Workbook, she was led to look at forgiveness differently.  From praying with her group for Forgiveness, she felt herself open to forgive her “ex”, her parents, her family, etc.  Her anger had kept her in a prison of negativity.  Praying to be forgiven and to forgive herself, visibly converted her. 

Wowza. 

“Redemption right before your eyes!”  He corrected me; “Redemption before all our eyes.  We all saw proof of redemption.  Right there.”

And the stories continue….

Each leader that I spoke with related benefits from the Arise Together with Christ Program.  From the scripture readings enhancing their Sunday liturgy, to feeling bonded in a community of faith, to serving the community and others with establishing a group prayer line, food for St. Vincent de Paul, helping at the Because He Lives Soup Kitchen, to becoming comfortable in sharing their faith with others, to learning new ways of prayer, to visiting nursing homes, to spiritually adopting seminarians and priests, to donating  an ox, cow, pig, goat, chicken…., the list of benefits goes on. 

You don’t believe me?  You doubt?

Come see for yourself.  By the way, this is your last chance to see for yourself.  Arise Together with Christ is a three year program.  This is our last year.  This is our last session.  This is your last chance to see what everyone in the parish is talking about.  What are you waiting for?  Don’t miss out!  It’s only a six week commitment.  It’s also non-sequential—meaning you don’t have to go every week.  Each lesson stands by itself, not dependent on any previous lesson.

Sign up the week end of Sept. 18-19                   Groups begin Oct.  3                 This is the Last Call.  

Friday, September 17, 2010

How to Cheat Your Boss

The parable of the unjust steward is confusing.  Read Luke 16: 1-13.

The steward is terminated from his employment.  But before he goes, he calls in all his master's debtors and forgives their debt, or lessons it considerably.  He does that so that when he needs help, after being fired, he'll have friends who will help him

This doesn't make sense to me because the master will have the steward thrown in jail for giving away what is rightfully his.  Who's going to help the steward now?

But the worst doesn't happen.  The steward gets away with it.  He's a conniving schemer and the master admires him for it.  If the master gets angry and has the steward arrested, he'll be the perceived as the bad guy.  But if he lets the steward alone, and lets his debtors alone, then the master is perceived as generous.

The point Jesus was trying to make was to be intelligent about planing for heaven.

But I can't get over the sneaky conniver's machinations to cheat his master.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Questions

Got Questions about the Arise Program? We’ve Got Answers!

Q. I didn’t join ARISE last year….can I still participate in Season 3? 
A. Absolutely! Each season stands alone.

Q. I’m not much of a church-go-er; I don’t know much about the Bible, would I feel out of place in an ARISE group?
A. Not at All! Each group reflects a beautiful variety of people at all different places in their lives.

Q. I’m in my 20’s (or 30’s), isn’t this kind of thing just for older people?
A. No Way! God doesn’t discriminate by age, gender, culture, race, or for any reason.

Q. It runs for 6 weeks…what if I can’t make them all?
A. No Problem! Life happens; do what you can.

Q. Can I pick my day and time?
A. Yes! There are many choices of days and times.

Q. Can I request a particular facilitator or group?
A. Sure!

Q. Can I host a group in my house even though I ‘m not the facilitator?
A. You Bet!

Q. I don’t like to talk in groups. Would I feel awkward?
A. No! Many participants were relieved to discover that they could talk or not according to their comfort level.

Q. Why would I do this?
A. Why wouldn’t you?

Created by St Agatha Team Milton, MA

Sunday, September 12, 2010

I Yam What I Yam



"I Yam What I Yam."  Who said that?

Your husband?   Er....yeah, .....I was really thinking of someone else.
"Popeye."  Yes, you are correct.  But there is really someone before Popeye.  Read 1Corinthians 15:10.

Now, who said, "By the grace of God, I am what I am..."?

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Negotiations

If you have ever belonged to a Labor Union, and been part of the collective  bargaining unit, then you'llunderstand where this post is coming from.


Read Exodus 32: 7.

Moses is the mediator.  Typical of membership, they just don't appreciate the hard work their contract negotiators have done for them.

Read Psalm 106: 5.

See?

Ingrates!  How would you like to be the Israelites steward?  Hey, they pay their dues, you have to advocate for them.  Although, you would like to say, "Fire the SOB," but you don't.  Neither does Moses.  He's excellent: calm, cool, collected.  Moses negotiates a deal.  Rather, he dusts off the original covenant.  Smart guy this Moses.  Luckily, the management Moses is dealing with never tries to screw you.  God doesn't go back on His Word.

I was thinking of hiring Moses when I stand at the pearly gates.  But then I thought better of it.  I know someone even better than Moses.  Read 1Timothy 2:5.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Scripture Come-back

 The pastor was out visiting Paddy Murphy, one day.  He didn't announce that he was coming, because he could always visit another parishioner, if Paddy wasn't home.  But he was home because Paddy's truck was in the driveway.  Father rang the door bell but no one answered.  Sound from either a TV or Radio could be heard through the door.  Father thought that the bell could be broken, so he knocked on the door, loudly.  Still no answer.  Father finally took out pen and paper and wrote "Revelation 3:20," and stuck it on the door.

Next Sunday, when Father was counting the offering he found his note, where he had written "Revelation 3:20," and saw that below, Paddy had written, "Genesis 3:10."

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Plan "A"

Once upon a time, I actually wasn't a  mother.  I wasn't married.  I wanted to be.  I knew I had a vocation to be a wife and a mother, so I dated.  Before I would allow myself to get serious about someone, they had to fulfill certain criteria.  They had to be Catholic, healthy, good sense of humor, hard working, etc.   These were traits that were important to me at that time.

The point is, I was planning for the future.  Don't we all; or should be?  Read Luke 14: 28-33.

Our future is heaven.  Plan for it.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

How to Make Your Prayer Better

Everyone's familiar with Luke 11: 1-4.  Right?

But what about when you don't feel like praying?  Jesus teaches us how to pray, Luke 11: 1-4, and also what to pray, and so does the rest of that section Luke 11: 5-13.  But what about when you're too tired, or just feel "blah."

I contend that it is when you push yourself, is when your prayer is worth more.  I think it is more worthy.

Follow my train of thought.
     You don't like children.  You don't know how to act, or say.....you're just uncomfortable with them.  But you're friend teaches little children.  And not only can't your friend understand how anyone could not like children, he actually thinks it's a terrible thing that you don't care for children.  He doesn't shut up about it.
     You meditate on it.  And you decide that you are going to try to look at children through your friend's eyes.  You'll try to see what's so wonderful about little kids.
      So your friend arranges for you to volunteer with him.  So the first day, a little girl pees on you while you're reading a story.  The next day, some little #^*# asked, "Why are you so fat?"  In fact, a day didn't go by, that you don't have some horror story.
      But you pushed yourself to go back every day, if only to prove to your friend that you really, really, did try to like children.
       Eventually, you know these kids by name.  Then you know them by personality.  You get to know when they're sad, mad, happy, and you know what?  You start to care about them.  Somehow, they wormed their way into your heart.
     Alright...alright!  You grow to love them.

This is the point of my story.  I contend, that your love is better, more worthy, if you will, than your friend's love,  because the friend did just what came naturally to him.  He loved children.  You on the other hand, had to work on it.  You pushed yourself to do something you didn't want to do.  And I think the same is true of prayer.  When you pray when you don't feel like it, when you have to push yourself, it's worth more.  Actually, you're praying to please God, not yourself.  An act of love that will please God.

Monday, August 30, 2010

High Notes



Read 1 Corinthians 15:52

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Teaching Etiquette

Party
My neighborhood is one of the best places to bring up a family.  It's a quiet, away from the center of town, pretty development.  That was a major factor in my family's decision to buy the particular house that we still inhabit.

Another plus was the fact, that two little girls lived next door, who were just about the same age as my daughter.  And for the most part, this worked well.  They were friends.  Even to the point of a path being worn in the grass between our two driveways.

There was however, one incident, that made this over-protective mother, seethe.

When my daughter had a birthday party, there were (And I contend still ARE), certain obligatory guests that you just have to invite.  I consider this "etiquette."  Besides family, you have to invite certain people.  In that category, I would include friends, people who always invite you to their parties, people who would be "hurt" if not invited, and then, you can invite whomever you want.  We always adhere to this rule.

I made sure my children invited their cousins, friends, and children who sat around their desks at school-- because everyone would be talking about the party, and we didn't want anyone to feel slighted.  We didn't forget our neighbors and those who had invited my kids to their birthday parties.

This is a parent's duty--to bring up thoughtful, caring, polite children, who mind their manners.

Then came the day, when I noticed my child's dejected face looking out the window, at the birthday party for the little girl next door.

Read Luke 14: 12-14.

What was Jesus thinking?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Another Pre-Sign Up Announcement

ARISE Together in Christ
Hermeneutics may not fill you with glee.
Apologetics may not be your cup of tea.
But in revealing what's true and what's not,
ARISE succeeds in stirring the pot.
If you haven't opted in up 'til now,
Take that leap of faith, God will show you how.

Sign up for ARISE Together in Christ today! http://www.stmarysfranklin.org/arise_registration.php
or during Sign Up Weekend September 18-19, 2010.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Scripture Sense

Our Lady of Hope Prayer Group is studying the Catechism, and the Bible.  After their usual prayer routine, they read and discuss, either the CCC, or the Bible.  This is a type of prayer, too.  It's called Lectio Divina, specifically Group Lectio Divina.  You read and then contemplate what you read.  The advantage of doing this in a group is the discussion that follows.  You have the advantage of hearing different insights.

Hey, this is exactly what Arise Together in Christ does.  We read and share.  Well, whadyano!

The Catechism of the Catholic Church (Questions 109-119) tell us how to approach studying scriptures.  It is important to understand that there are two senses of Scripture: the literal, and the spiritual.

The literal sense is the meaning conveyed by the words of Scripture.
The spiritual sense is the signs revealed by God's plan.  This is subdivided into three more senses: allegorical, moral and anagogical.
     Allegorical sense is seeing events in the light of their significance to Christ.
     Moral sense are events written for instruction.
     Anagogical sense are events interpreted in terms of their leading us to heaven.

A medieval couplet summarizes the four senses:

                                The Letter speaks of deeds; Allegory to faith
                                The Moral how to act; Anagogy our destiny.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Knock Knock

Did you hear what happened to Mrs. Murphy's after her near death experience?  

Well, while on the operating table, God came to her.  "Is this it?" She asked.  God replied, "No my child, you have another 40 years to live."

So as soon as she was well enough, she colored her hair, exercised and lost weight, had a nose job, and breast augmentation and soon became very popular.  Her husband considered her a trophy wife.  Heck, she thought of herself as a trophy.
Just as she was applying for a job as a model, she had a heart attack.

This time, she really did die.  As soon as she could, she accosted God, "Didn't you tell me that I had another 40 years to live?"                   "Oh, it's you, Mrs. Murphy!  Sorry, I didn't recognize you."
This old joke came to mind during this Sunday's Gospel.  Read Luke 13: 24-28
Yikes.  Imagine God telling you, "I do not know where you are from.  Depart from me all you workers of iniquity."


Thursday, August 19, 2010

Helpful Bible Study Hints

While reading Fr. Mark Carr's "A Holy Rule for Internet Communicators," I came across some suggestions to help us in our Scripture reading and sharing.  Actually he is discussing how Catholic Bloggers should conduct themselves.  For more on Catholic Bloggers, you can link to the real article, above, or my other blog, for my spin.



Use the three color pen method taught by Mons. Jonas Abib. (Monsignor Jonas learned that Pope John Paul II used the same method.)
This means:
a.) Underline any command forms directed to the reader in red. (i.e. Phillipians 4:4 “Rejoice in the Lord Always”)
b.) Underline any principles in black (i.e. 1John 4:8 “Who does not love does not know God, because God is love”)
c.) Underline any promises in green (i.e. Romans 8:11 “And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.”)

Actually I've seen Bibles that come with all the passages where Jesus is speaking, highlighted in yellow.  
My Bible is going to be pretty colorful.


Pre-Sign Up Bulletin Annoucements

Sign Up

ARISE Together in Christ
How many angels fit on the edge of a pin?
Is not the kind of question we are interested in?
Are we caught up with Idol and Dancing with the Stars?,
When the call to Evangelization is truly ours?

It is never too late to become part of ARISE Together in Christ.  You may sign up for a group on the weekend of Sept. 18-19, or sign up anytime on our parish website: http://www.stmarysfranklin.org/arise_registration.php

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Sales Pitch

ARISE Together in Christ
No collections, donations, no, nothing like that.
Nothing to bring,
But there's one caveat.
Take all of yourself, your heart and your soul,
To Catholic sharing -- that's our goal.

Why not be part of something that has positively and deeply touched the lives of over 250 parishioners in St. Mary's, and over 30,000 Catholics in the Archdiocese of Boston?  ARISE Season 5 is open to anyone.  It is an opportunity to get to know others from our parish.  You may sign up for a group on the weekend of Sept. 18-19, or on-line at the parish web site.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Both Dormition and Assumption

A place to put on your bucket list, is the Russian Museum of Icons, in Clinton, MA.    See Link.


The last time I went, I saw this Icon of the Dormition of Mary.  The docent explained that this particular Icon portrays the Eastern Orthodox doctrine on the Assumption of Mary.  The Dormition of the Theotokos and the Assumption of Mary, are both celebrated on August 15.  We are celebrating the same event.  However, the Orthodox church teaches that Mary died a natural death, but that her soul was received by Christ, and that her body was resurrected on the third day, at which time her soul was taken up, bodily into heaven.


Roman Catholics believe that Mary was "assumed" into heaven in bodily form.  Pope Pius XII, defined the docrine of the Assumption, in  Apostolic constitutionMunificentissimus Deus (1950).


Orthodox and Roman Catholics see the role Mary has played in Jesus' life.  We can see that she who played the most prominent part of His life, would be resurrected, like all of us, but more uniquely, as befitting her role.  She was the first person to say "yes", and for this reason should be especially honored.


Read Romans 8: 28-30.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Trust Me

You should make it a practice to never trust people who say, "Trust me."  Good advice.

However, sometimes you just don't have a choice.  You have to, because there's no other alternative: doctors, mechanics, lawyers, politicians, ...other experts.  Is it because of the few--the bad experiences, that we're wary of trusting?  But we should be, shouldn't we?

What about trusting God?

Oh.

Read Hebrews 11:1-2, 8-12.

Abraham trusted.  Mary trusted.  Jesus trusted.

Yikes, no wonder we balk at trusting God.   It's not that trusting God means that everything will be honky dory.  After all, we're not living in the Garden of Eden.  It means that God's promises will become true in the end.  The process of getting to the end, may not be smooth; that's where the trust comes in.  You have to believe that God will deliver.  Trust = Faith

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Pre-Sign Up Bulletin Annoucements

ARISE Together in Christ
Are there times when your faith is in doubt
And you're not sure what life's all about
It might help to share
With people who care
So let's meet in small groups to find out.

ARISE Season 5 is open to anyone.  Only 90 minutes a week for 6 weeks can change your life.  You may sign up for a group on the weekend of Sept. 18/19, or on line.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Prophetic Utterances

The words of the boy remind me of "priests and prophets."  Moses comes to mind.  And when I think of Moses, I think of the Ten Commandments.  And when I think of prophets, I think of proclamations like this boy's.  He and I think alike.

The style the boy uses reminds me of Deuteronomy.  And that's what I read for meditation, today. 

Deuteronomy it the fifth book of the Bible.  Its name means "second law."  But as far as I can see, it isn't about a second law; but rather an explanation of some of the commandments.

I am particularly thinking of the Fifth Commandment and abortion.  Read Deuteronomy 18: 9-12.

Abortion is an abomination to the Lord.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Announcement

Arise Together in Christ
We're looking ahead to the fall
To begin Season 5 for us all
Get ready to sign on the dotted line
For we hope that you'll answer the call.

Arise Season 5 is open to anyone, even if you never participated before.  You are welcome.  Faith sharing groups will begin the week of Oct. 3rd.  You may sign up for a group on the weekend of Sept. 18 - 19, or anytime on the parish website.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Parables

Do you like parables?  Do you like poetry?  Fables?  


You either do, or you don't.  If you like allegory, allusions with multiple interpretations, and metaphors, then I bet you do like parables.  I admit, most of the time I do.  I find the agrarian parables frustrating though, because I can't relate.  And..

(Read Matthew 20: 1-16) is downright infuriating to me, as a Union member.  In fact, what Jesus does is against our law.  A Union steward would slap Jesus with an unfair labor practice grievance faster than he can hire those union busting 11th hour workers.  Just imagine, they don't know what the job is, no training, nor time to train them, no experience whatsoever, and they get paid the same as the first hires.  Ask Jesus to define "seniority."

But that's not the point, is it?  Jesus is speaking allegorically.  This parable is to give us hope.  Jesus is all merciful and will take even 11th hour conversions into His Kingdom.  I won't question my Lord.

We have the vineyard representing our world, and the labors are Jesus followers.  Unfortunately, it's a non-union shop.    God is our benevolent employer.  He choses because He is generous to pay everybody the same.  Doesn't it occur to you, to not be so anxious to be one of the first hires, next time?  Yeah, slack off.  Take a nap, and on the 11th hour go apply for the job.

The trouble is, you don't know if God is going to offer the same deal, again.  So you're stuck being good all the time.

Mmmmmm.  I think I'll apply for the job of being an union organizer in heaven.  Equal pay for equal work.  No discrimination.  Affirmative action.  Collective bargaining.

What do you think of Amalgamated Workers in Eternity---AWE?

Awesome, no?

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Mutual Indwelling

  Let’s look at the ideal of Fatherhood: loving, protecting, supporting, kind, generous, advising, strong, etc.  Now read about our Father in heaven, Jas 1:7.

How’s that for divine Fatherhood?  Think of the parables.  For example, the friend waking his neighbor in the middle of the night, the father who feeds his children, and the father who welcomes his prodigal son.  Wowza.  Some of this is maybe out of reach for us mere humans.  We try. 

 If we try to imagine this ideal, we see a powerful relationship between a father and his child.  Remember Jesus saying “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father?”  Wrap your mind around that concept.  Can you see that the relationship between God the Father and God the Son is so intimate, so loving, so incredibly self-giving that they are “…in each other?”   This is called the doctrine of the mutual indwelling.  The mutual indwelling means that the Father has given Himself completely from all eternity to His Son, and the Son has from all eternity, reciprocated. 
Now pray the Our Father.  We have nothing to worry about.  Our Father will handle everything; and the proof is that He sent His only Son to suffer and die, for us.  What more could you want?    
h/t Brother Augustine Reisenhauer, O.P.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Catholics Come Home

The Boston Globe had an article on this new archdiocesan initiative, called "Catholics Come Home."  The Church recognizes that in the not so distant past, with the priest sex scandal, the closing of  parishes, and just the general feeling of distrust with any authority, that there are a number of unhappy and unsettled people out there, who have left the Catholic Church.  This program is an outreach to them.  The sheep are lost.


I think the time is right for these lost sheep.  Aquinas tells us that we are born with a desire for God.  Man will always search for God.  Often we think money, power, sex, etc., will fulfill this yearning.  It doesn't.  We remain unsatisfied.  We try more, and more.  We never find satisfaction until we find God.  He's there.


Yes, right here--in the Catholic Church, in the Eucharist.  The sheep are meandering here and there and trying to find satisfaction.  Let us pray, they come home.  


Read Matt. 16: 18.


Jesus left the care of His Church to His apostle, Peter.  From the first century to today, all the popes have inherited the spiritual, ecclesiastical and sacramental authority and responsibility that Jesus first gave to Peter.
That is why we say that Pope Benedict XVI is the Vicar of Christ.


One reason I love being Catholic is this source of the authority exercised by a hierarchical priesthood based in Rome.  It makes sense.  It's historical fact.  It still exists after 2010 years.


My prayer, my promise, my creed:
I believe in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church founded by Our Lord Jesus Christ upon the Apostle Peter, and today I fully accept Pope Benedict XVI as the Vicar of Christ.  

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Martha and Mary

The story of Martha and Mary is a familiar one.  Read Luke 10:38-42.

Everyone I know identifies with Martha and jokes about this story.  Everyone except me.  That's because I'm Mary.  I identify with Mary.  I love to read theology and philosophy and religion.  I also never have enough time to pray.  To hell with the housework.  A clean house is a sign of a broken computer.

I sit in the kitchen reading the Word
husband treads the path from stove to table

his quick eyes check out my coffee cup--
down enough to warm up

he's buttered my toast and flipped my eggs
to greet the morning and me

praise God for good cooks and thoughtful lovers
thank you I pray with a full mouth

Hhrrmmpphh! he snaps the Globe open
looking over the paper and

into my heart with laughing eyes
and no words spoken.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Ad


Spiritual Renewal - ARISE: Together in Christ

AriseRGB_150.jpg
“We believe you are doing something new,
calling us to arise together in Christ
to celebrate the fullness of life. Amen.”
From The ARISE Prayer
Renew International1.
Renewing our faith life—as individuals and as Church—is an ongoing part of what it means to be Catholic. In 2008, our Bicentennial year, we began a three-year program designed to help renew parish life and to help parishioners strengthen their spirituality. Called ARISE: Together in Christ, the program is designed around the concept of bringing parishioners together in small groups. Members of the groups meet weekly over a six-week period. They share their faith experiences with one another, reflect upon how they are encountering God in everyday life, and look for ways to connect faith to action.
“You call us to holiness
and we trust you to lead us together
on our journey to be a renewed Church,
for with you all things are possible.”
The first ARISE session took place in the fall of 2008 and was a tremendous success. Approximately 30,000 people participated, and 3,000 volunteers signed up to be group leaders, taking a two-hour training program in preparation. The program was offered in English, Haitian Creole, Portuguese, Spanish, Vietnamese, Lithuanian and American Sign Language. Versions of the program for children and teens took place in Catholic Schools and religious education classes.
“Enliven our parishes; reunite our families.
May your Holy Spirit empower us
to live as a community of love”
Two important objectives of ARISE are community building and evangelization Feedback from the first session revealed those objectives were met in a variety of ways. Parishioners were surprised and delighted with the renewed sense of community that resulted. Some took advantage of opportunities to invite family members or friends to accompany them to ARISE. One of the most exciting developments was that ARISE spread beyond the parish. The Invitation to Act portion of the program, where participants look for ways to put their faith into action, spurred people to reach out to others, offering friendship, comfort and support. But even beyond that, participants brought the program with them to other aspects of their lives. Examples include parishioners who volunteer in a nursing home starting a program there and others who brought the ARISE books with them to Florida for the winter, leading a program there.
Renew International, a Catholic organization based in Plainfield, NJ, created ARISE and customized the Boston program to meet our Archdiocese’s needs. ARISE will continue through 2011, and parishes are welcome to join at any time. For more information, contact Mary Ann McLaughlin or Ann Cussen, 617-779-3640, ariseinchrist@rcab.org.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

You've Got a Friend



Today's Gospel was the familiar Good Samaritan story.  Read Luke 10: 25-37.

I've heard the excuses for the passers-by.  That a lawyer is a busy man.  He probably was rushing to court, or some other  time sensitive appointment.  That the Levite can't touch blood.  If he's on his way to services, he'd be unclean.

They both could have intended to get help when they got to town.

That's probably how they assuage their consciences.  But those excuses won't wash.

You're still putting yourself in front of your neighbor's needs.  But...but...but--they don't even know the guy!  So, who's your neighbor?

That question was originally asked in  Genesis Chapter 4 Verse 9.   Read it.  The answer is Luke 10: 25-37.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Last Session of Arise




A Parish-Centered Process of Spiritual Renewal 
for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston


 ARISE: Dates to Remember
Season 5We Are the Good News!
Sign-up Weekends:

September 18-19

Faith Sharing begins October 3

Small Group Leaders follow this
Link to view the Training Sessions.
May God bless you for your commitment.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Happy Fourth of July

Everybody should be proud of their country.  Don't you think so?

Read Psalm 66.

You think this patriot is proud that his country won a soccer game?  You know soccer fans!
Whatever.  This psalmist is thankful for what God has done for his nation.  We need to be likewise.  If ever a country needed to give thanks to God, it's the USA.

God is concerned with not only every individual but for every country in this world.  "Let all the earth cry out God with joy."  Note that while the psalmist is thinking of his own nation, he also calls upon all nations to praise God.  Remember God had saved the Israelites during the Exodus.

But we have much to be thankful for, also.  Rejoice in the fact that we are also part of God's covenant.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Answer Me!

Sometimes God seems distant. We pray but God stays silent and you just have to wonder if God's promises "To ask and you'll receive" are false.  We all have experienced this.

Read Job 30: 16-20.

Talk about silence!  Job could tell us stories!  Job was a good man, yet God allowed evil to harass him.  Job prayed but received no answer, just silence.

Then God does speak to Job (Job 40: 1-5)  Note Job's response.

Finish by reading Job 42: 1-6.

There's something to be learned from Job's story, especially in our prayer life.

Sometimes prayers aren't answered because they're wrong or we're not ready to understand.  God's time is not our time.  Maybe it's the way we're asking.  Is there sin in your life?  Well, tell God, what's bothering you. Go to Confession--get rid of what's stopping that loving relationship with God.

And then, there are times, after periods of silence, where we are rewarded by a far greater gift that what we were asking for.  I guess it all comes down to perseverance and trust.  And trusting means learning to bear the silence because He is always there, even when he doesn't answer.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Where Are You Going?

Could you leave everything to follow someone you love? 

You could when you were a teen.  So what's difference between then and now?

Stuff.  You own much too much stuff now; you didn't have much as a teen.  Read  1Kings 19:19-21.

Here Elisha is a young man, maybe a teen, and leaves all.  The fact that he's driving 12 oxen tells us that his family is rich.  He burns the yoke to make a good fire to cook all the oxen.  This was to prove to Elijah that he was ready to follow God.  He was leaving his old life behind. 

I don't think Elisha's father could have done the same.  Actually, having stuff means you have responsibilities.  It was easier for Elisha, and that's not taking away the fact that Elisha's leaving it all behind wasn't virtuous.  It was difficult to give everything up; it would have been impossible for Elisha's father. 

Now read Luke 9: 57-62.  Same situation.  We don't know anything about this young man.  Would leaving mean leaving a wife and children?  Yikes! 

God wouldn't ask that.  Let's look at the point of the story.   The point being to trust in God.  What surrendering means is different for each of us.  But we all are called to follow God.

Where Are You Going To, My Pretty Maid?

"Where are you going to,
my pretty maid?"
"I'm going a-listening,
Sir," she said.

"May I go with you,
my pretty maid?"
"You're kindly welcome,
Sir," she said.

"What will we listen to,
my pretty maid?"
"My Father's good Words,
kind sir," she said.

"Where will we listen,
my pretty maid?"
"Within Father's house,
kind sir," she said.

"How will we listen,
my pretty maid?"
"With all of our heart,
kind sir," she said.

"Who is your Father,
my pretty maid?"
"The Lord God in Heaven
kind sir, she said.

"How can we reach Him,
my pretty maid?"
"I'll show you the Way,
kind sir," she said.

"Jesus, The Way, The Truth
and The Life,
will lead you to Him,
kind sir," she said.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

My Cross


Read Luke 9:18-24

I don't know whether it was Ben Franklin, or my mother, who told me that God gives us our own individual crosses, made especially for us.  One's person cross is not an other's. 

There are many times when I've encountered a person with an illness, or in a terrible situation, or some other such horrific occurrence, and I've wondered how they could carry such a cross.  And then (in the few instances) when I've had the opportunity to talk to them, I see that they carried their cross well.  In fact, they'll turn the tables and ask me how I handled my illness, my personal tragedies, my situational woes, etc.  We wonder at ourselves, others, and how God matches our crosses to ourselves. 

Would we swap crosses with another, if we could?  Pretend.  So whose and what  would you chose?

Yeah,  I thought so.  God matches our crosses to us.

And believe this; you can turn your cross into a blessing.  You can use your cross to help others: in prayer, in emphatic overtures, in offerings. 

The Christians took the Cross--an object of shame and death, and turned it into a triumph--an object of hope and the Resurrection.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Delightful

Do gifts give you delight?  Happy experiences are delightful, also.  What about God?  Would you characterize your relationship with God as delightful?

Seriously.  Why wouldn't your relationship with God be delightful?  If you can delight in any loving relationship, then certainly, you may delight in God.  You should.

Read Psalm 37:4

God wants our happiness.  That precludes that what makes us happy are things that are good for us.  IOW, we must delight in what God delights in.  Sometimes we pray for things that are just selfish.  God is omnipotent so He sees the overall picture--the future, affects, effects, etc..  So we should always be sure to pray according to the will of God.  There is nothing wrong in telling God what we desire, but we should ask in the context of His will.  Remember Jesus, at a moment where His wits were rampant, still prayed," yet not My will, but Thine be done."

Focus on what pleases God, not what pleases you.  Pray to have no delight except what delights Our Lord.
You can't go wrong, there.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Trying to be Serious

Do you remember as a child, having fits of laughter, especially in places where you were suppose to be quiet, i.e., study hall, library, church (God forbid)?  Does that ever happen to you as an adult?

Not quite.  The fits have matured.  I'm having one tonight.  You have to read Luke 7:36-50.

For some reason, I can't get into this story.  Everything strikes me as "hifreakinlarious."

  1. How did the sinful woman get into the Pharisee's house?  Was she there all along?  Didn't anyone notice?  Did she crash the party?
  2. The Pharisee asks himself, "If this man were a prophet..."    Does he think prophets predict the future?  No wonder no one listened to the prophets.
  3. If the sinful woman came prepared with jars of ointments, how come she forgot a towel?  There are times when I've been in restrooms where there are no towels.  Not once, never, ever, did it ever occur to me, to wipe my hands on my hair.  Furthermore, I don't think hair is a very effective drying agent.  Why didn't she use her skirt like a normal woman?  Didn't they use napkins, back in the day
I know.  I'm bad.  Time for a visit to my Spiritual Director.  Lord, help me.  But I do realize that this Reading is about love.  This sinful woman (Mary Magdalene?), must have loved Jesus very much.  And Jesus proves that He loves us, by forgiving her, her sins.  He uses the woman's sinfulness as an opportunity to show us His great mercy.  We learn the true meaning of mercy when we are forgiven, even though we don't deserve it.  We don't earn it; it's freely given.  Jesus tells us that our faith will save us.


Can't help wonder if she also gives manicures, along with the pedicures.....

h/t to Kat